Cross-platform messengers - a CrackBerry guide to who has delivery notifications

Cross-platform messaging
By Ryan Blundell on 15 Mar 2011 12:50 pm EDT
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I love using BlackBerry Messenger to keep in touch with family, friends and colleagues – even if they don’t want to talk to me. In fact, it’s so quiet on my BlackBerry Messenger sometimes, you can hear a PIN drop (wakka wakka). It’s one of my preferred methods of communication, as it offers an instant messenger experience with a BlackBerry only exclusivity (for now). It’s funny to think about when it first hit my old BlackBerry – the icon was a cartoon headshot of some blonde guy. Now you hear kids throwing around BBM this and BBM that.

There was also a time that the BBM exclusivity also excluded us from chatting those using other smartphones with the same ease. True, we have access to options like Google Talk, Windows Live Messenger and such. They do lack one thing that we see in BlackBerry messenger – the ability to see delivered and read notifications. We’ve done some digging and found some alternatives you can load your BlackBerry with. Let’s take a look and see if they’re with all of your OMGs and your LOLs.

Now while there are a gaggle of gabbing apps out there, we really wanted to focus on those who offer up some sort of delivery notification. Some can tell if a message been delivered, while others can let you know if it's been delivered and read.

PingChat!

PingChat!

PingChat! Just screams messenging on your BlackBerry. Well, that and the fact that the word ping is also used by your BlackBerry (when you want to ping/nudge a BBM contact). Bonding BlackBerry with Android and iPhone, Pingchat supplies you with media and profile management and a friend finder that accesses your address book as well as your Twitter or Facebook account.

The only downside comes when you want to switch devices frequently. You need to un register then re register your ID on the new device. From my experience, BlackBerry users can only see a checkmark when a message is delivered. On the other side of the fence, a user sees an S when a message is sent and an R when it is read.

More information on PingChat!

WhatsApp Messenger

WhatsApp

WhatsApp Messenger is compatible with BlackBerry, Android, iPhone and Nokia Symbian60 phones. While WhatsApp cannot provide notification that a message has been read, it can tell you if it has been delivered. First, a single checkmark indicates that the message has been delivered to the servers. The second checkmark says that the message was delivered to the recipient.

WhatsApps allows you to manage a list of favourites, enabling you to separate the cool kids from the rest. Speaking of social status, you can manage your own status, (away, busy, etc) as well. From within the app, you have the option to call a contact. This simply redirects you to the native call function. WhatsApp notifications can be modified by your ever useful Profile menu. Keep in mind that in order to send emoticons, you need to be running OS 5.0 or higher.

More information on WhatsApp Messenger

LiveProfile

LiveProfile 

They call it Blazing Fast. LiveProfile plays friendly with BlackBerry, Android and iPhone. One feature that sets it apart is the ability it gives you not only see when the message is delivered, or if someone is typing, but being able to see when the message was read. Yes, I said read. Like BBM, you can set up a profile, status and image. The UI is crisp and easy to navigate. It’s not quite ready for BlackBerry, but the features have me salivating. Users can be added to your contact list by using a unique PIN (sound familiar?).

From what I can read, they’re already planning on copy/paste capabilities, as well as group chats and font size options. I say work on BlackBerry first and then you can focus on that other stuff.

More information on LiveProfile

Cnectd

Cnectd

Cnectd connects BlackBerry users to Nokia Symbian, iPhone and Android users. Garbed in blue and orange, this application is another proud owner of message notification capabilities. Just like you would see with BlackBerry Messenger, Cnectd slaps on the checkmark with a letter D to mark the message as delivered. To dissipate any doubt that your message viewed, a read message is marked with an (say it with me, like a pirate) R. When accessing your profile, you have the ability to share your location via GPS. For those who want to hide, or are on the lamb, you can turn off this feature. Cnectd also supports groups and allows you to check out who the members are in the groups.

More information on Cnectd

Hello! Messenger

Hello

Yo! Hey iPhone! Hi Android! Hello! With a happy, frantic wave, Hello! Messenger hopes to gather the geeks, no matter the gadget. You can edit your profile, including; image, status and availability for chat. The app says you can connect using your BlackBerry PIN or with a Hello! PIN. A wave turns into a thumbs up if you ask a Hello! user if they have message delivery confirmation capabilities. You can also enjoy photo exchange options and the ability to make Facebook status updates.

More information on Hello! Messenger!

With the possibility of running BBM on other platforms in the air, what will the future be for Cross Platform applications? Which one are you using now? Is there one on another platform that you think should make its way to BlackBerry? Let us know in the comments below.

Reader comments

Cross-platform messengers - a CrackBerry guide to who has delivery notifications

58 Comments

I suggested PingChat to my family and friends because it's free and they all use it on their iphones and android devices.

But BlackBerry users of PingChat think it could have been much better, including me.

Anyone has a link OTA for Hello! messenger?

I can't find it in the App World.

:(

I was looking on their twitter and there was something about the free one not being approved yet.

I've gotten a bunch of Android and iPhone friends to use WhatsApp. It works quite well, looks and feels a lot like BBM. Stupid that Apple charges $0.99 for it in the AppStore, while it's free for Android and BB.

Not 100% accurate - Apple take 30% cut for themselves, so devs have to bear that in mind when working out what to charge.

yes it does but only bb to bb
this is what the thread is about
bb-ifone-android-etc
any that links all and with little effort
will thrive when they get it right
come on liveprofile!!

GREAT article, thank you for laying these out there for people! While most (not all) BB users have figured out the value of BBM, people on other platforms still load up on like 1500 txt messages per month when they could be sending them for free. Why? I keep a lower txt plan to communicate with people on dumbphones, but that's it.

And if BBM is the killer app for BlackBerry, then these apps could be a critical communication app for your close friends on iPhone or Android. I've used PingChat and Cnectd extensively. PingChat (I think) is the best of what's available right now. And contrary to what the article says, I do get a "S" (sent) and "R" (read) notifications on my BlackBerry (talking to people on Android). I believe that was added in an update. My only two complaints about it would be that it can be a little slow accessing your message thread, and every once in awhile it will fail to send you the "push" notification. But it works great 98% of the time.

I'm excited for the LiveProfile BB launch to see if that is a better alternative. They were already sending out beta versions to random people for testing, and seem to be in the final stages of approval.

1500?! Lol. Try like 5000-7500. I use that many easily. I only have a few BBM contacts. I still need to find it's true potential with my friends so maybe I can get text down to about 2500

This post helps a ton as my wife just jumped to an evo ( her curve meet an untimely end on the roof of her car :( ) and I'm still on my curve.. Might look into these a bit closer, just wish liveprofile was up no, that seems the most promising.

The only thing that kills me on all of these is the group chat. I have unlimited texts in my plan, but before I and some others left for android we had a pretty close friendship in my group through bbm. I think for alot of Americanized plans the benefits of data for messenging isn't that big of an issue, but for alot of countries bbm is almost a necessity for communicating.

I've used Pingchat (on iPhone 4) and Whatsapp (on iPhone4 and 9780). Pingchat seemed promising at first, until it started pushing out previous chats to my contacts in a repetitive manner. Whatapp on the other hand had its own problems - sometimes it could take a week or more for your messages to be delivered (both within and outside the US). It's hard to imagine any app out there as fulfilling as the bbm.

BBM is one thing I miss from my BB. LiveProfile is very similar and (for the most part) works very well. I keep hoping the BlackBerry version gets released soon. Another thing that is nice about LiveProfile is it can share files (not just pictures). Hopefully they get group chat added in the near future.

I also use PingChat, which works fine. It just has ads to support it on the Android side. I haven't tried the other ones yet. Nice to see there are a few more options.

I've been hearing about beluga for iphone and Android, it's from the three ex Google people. Anybody play with that one, and if it will ever come to the BB platform?

I just went to the Beluga site and found out Facebook has just acquired Beluga. Now I'm more interested in finding out how this new company will do. I also posted feedback, about consideration of a BB app, which it looks like several other people have done the same.

I've been a BlackBerry user for over five years now and even I know BBM is dead. It's peak was probably sometime in 2008. I now find the R and D notifications to be intrusive. Not too mention the 3G data requirement for messages to go through, where as texts will go through with the faintest of 1x signals.

I understand BBM can be useful in certain environments (e.g. traveling overseas), but aside from that I don't see any reason to use it much anymore. I had 100 BBM friends at one point, I now only keep like 3 good-good friends as BBM friends.

ahahahahahHAHAHAHAH bbm is just getting hot. lol. blackberry has lost 40% US market share in 12 months, what planet are you living on?

BB userbase has increased, not decreased - it's simply that the market has grown faster for other devices, and the smartphone market in general is expanding incredibly fast.

That is right. I live in the Netherlands and MOST of the Teens have a Blackberry Mobile now. Everywhere you look everywhere a blackberry (Teens. And there are a lot of Teens LOL)

3G requirement? On what phone/OS? I used BBM on my 8900 for a long time, no 3G at all. I use BBM all the time now on my 9300 even when I'm on EDGE and WiFi. So whatever problem you're having is one mostly exclusive to you.

I only have a few BBM friends as well, but it would be nice if I had more. I just don't have very many friends with BBs. Most of them still have "dump phones". I personally love the file sharing abilities and the lack of a 160 character cap. I don't care that it's "free".

Though after seeing all those, I might switch to LiveProfile if it ends up being as nice as it seems.

So much lack of real understanding.
Bbm works fine on GPRS, no need for 3G.
BB is THE handset in the UK, beating off iPhones and Android - as someone else mentioned, this is a gllobal business - not just US.
.
One thing that a lot of people don't seem to realise (am talking from uk pov here - rules may differ in other parts of the world) is that BBM is part of the fiver a month BB subscription you pay in contract or seperate if PAYG. So you can send pics, music, vids (short) or anything totally for free via BBM, doesn't come off your data plan allowance.
That's something you don't get with anything but BBM.

Using Pingchat on bb os6 and can see when messages are sent and read. It is not only with other users

I tried getting my friends on PingChat, all my blackberry friends refused to see the point and iphone users i had to try very hard to get them using it, android users still flippin txt me, fml

There are two great things about BBM that never seem to get addressed (everyone always focuses on the D and R checkmarks):

1. BBM is already installed. Everyone (on BB) has it. Even my coworkers who can't figure out how to install a simple app can use BBM.
2. BBM is always on. You don't have to load an app after rebooting, you can't shut it off.

It really replicates the TXT experience perfectly.

Can you BBM to iPhone or Droid?

That is what we are talking about this go around, cross-platform messaging, not trying to bash or put down BBM.

Very good point ffejie.
While BBM is pin 2 pin...you have to get your iPhone and Android friends to agree to download these other cross platform apps for it to work!

be careful about whatsapp, I and friends used it but stopped when we started getting flooded with pin messages from complete strangers, it turns out whatsapp was using random people's devices to contact our device, not cool

if I was receiving these pin messages it makes me wonder if they were sending secret pin messages from my device to people I don't even know

I was amped to try Whatsapp but it asks for your cell number to begin. Lo and behold, I didn't want to be flooded with unwanted premium texts or what you describe above. Whatsapp, no thanks!

My friends and I use WhatsApp betwwen bb and iphones, never had this happen. I suspect it was an enterprising spammer that hit on your number when trying it out. You never had a spam sms before?

I just wrote up an article on this, complete with a chart displaying all the differences here: bit.ly/eldc5Y. While my article doesn't include Hello! Messenger, it goes into detail on the specs on the other clients and Kik. I have found that PingChat is the best option right now on Blackberry until Live Profile stops teasing us and releases it!

Anyone here ever try TigerText? http://www.tigertext.com/

Looks like this is cross-platform (Android, BB, iPhone, Windows 7) and has delivery notifications. I just installed it today and it seems pretty decent.

The added-feature to this app is that you can have the messages "self-destruct" after x many minutes or days.

I just found out about it today through a podcast, so I'm assuming the user base is still quite low.

I'm not sure how I feel about someone else having the ability to decide when messages on my phone are deleted. I know they're toting security, but it still seems kinda shady. I think the app looks cool, especially as a cross platform thing, but I'll wait to check it out until it grows some, if it ever does.

BBM is the greatest thing blackberry has. i jumped from 8520 to the nexus one. my girlfriend has the pearl 3g and pingchat has been our best friend. have a few friends with iphones, and that's how we keep in touch. i have other friends with blackberries, but they don't want to use any other app but BBM, bot because they don't want to, they are just too lazy to download and install it.

I just want to straight some things out about WhatsApp, The latest version of WhatsApp do let you know if your friends have read you message. The first Checkmark now mean DELIVERED and the second means READ. Just tested this out between a Torch and a Iphone and also their website confirms this.
BTW BBM is still the best messenger service.

Great article. This topic definitely has people's interest for a while now.

I never got to use BBM, just because most of my friends are on other platforms.
It's a shame really, since everybody wants the "push" notification and other cool features when you are messaging someone and BBM already has it all.

Used to use Nimbuzz & GoogleChat but because of the above reason, I switched to PingChat.
PingChat works great and it is free, however, it drains your battery like crazy.
That's the only downside that I see.
Also, sometimes, maybe the server encounters a problem, the message becomes "undeliverable" and you can't even resend.
Actually, BB version seems to be ok but it's a bit buggy on iPhone version...

Been following on LiveProfile on Twitter but man, they make you wait...
Anyway, I definitely want to give a go on this one.

I don't know if I'm just missing something, but Hello! Messenger does not appear to be available for Android devices. I know it says it is on their site, but I've tried multiple ways of downloading it and none of the Android links are clickable.

Android is also not listed under their support page.

I got an update notice from appworld today. Turns out it was for PingChat, here's the release notes. Looks like they added the ability to see when a friend is typing...

- Emoticons are here! Share them with your friends and have fun.
- Typing and message status shows when your friends are writing you back, or sending you media. No more guessing if they are answering.
- Storm/Storm2 support added. Better Torch support as well!
- Added localizations for DE (German), ES (Spanish), FR (French), IT (Italian), and NL (Dutch).
- Brand new attachment panel helps you send the message you want, faster and easier.
- Send and receive Contacts and Map Locations.
- New compose screen makes it easier and faster to send messages and group messages, no more remembering their id's.
- New media picker gets you sharing your pictures, videos, and audio faster then ever.
- Clicking on the titlebar in a group conversation now opens up a list of the group members, quickly view their profile or go to a chat with them.
- Added searchbar to the Facebook/Twitter/Address Book find friend screens so you can find who you want faster.
- Faster loading of conversations with picture messages.
- Bug fixes for Torch touch issues, unable to go into your profile when clicking the My Profile button from the main screen, password mismatch issues, and more.
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerr

I recently installed WhatsApp and chat with a Samsung user friend in Canada (I'm in Aus) without hassle.

We've sent pics, voice file, vids with voice, voice files and chat - all worked well and whilst there is the usual transmission delay in the vid files going - there is a timer that shows the progress.

One thing though - I have a 9700 and therefore don't have HD video, whereas the Samsung does - so whilst she can view my vids, I can't view her HD vids because the format isn't supported on the 9700.

Even though I've only had the app less than a week I've upgraded its OS 3 times already. Odd? Interesting? Normal?

I've also used this app to send pics, vids, voice files and chat with network off and in wifi only environment - works perfectly.

I am in a BBM group and agree re excellent capabilities of this program. WhatsApp so far serves my needs for cross platform purpose.